Sonoma NASCAR: Jamie McMurray claims pole with new system
|By Connell Sanders Jr||Saturday, June 22nd 2013, 19:23 GMT|
Jamie McMurray took a surprise NASCAR Sprint Cup pole position as its new road course qualifying format made its debut at Sonoma.
NASCAR's top class has abandoned its traditional single-lap format for Sonoma and Watkins Glen this year, instead letting drivers out in five/six-car groups for five minutes at a time.
The slowest drivers from practice go first, building up to the practice pacesetters eight groups later. The times are then combined to set the field.
Earnhardt Ganassi driver McMurray was in the final group, and managed to upstage Friday's fastest man - and last year's Sonoma polesitter - Marcos Ambrose by 0.049 seconds.
The Petty Ford racer was amazed to be that close to McMurray, his engine having briefly cut out as he approached the green flag.
Despite expectations that the track would get faster with each group, it was group five runner Carl Edwards who stayed on provisional pole for a long spell and held on to third.
He shares row two with Roush Fenway team-mate Greg Biffle.
Clint Bowyer completes the top five, followed by Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon.
Juan Pablo Montoya had been a pole favourite, but only managed 13th, six places ahead of championship leader Jimmie Johnson, whose Hendrick team has been off the pace so far this weekend.
1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve took 22nd on his return to Cup action with Phoenix Racing.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 1m15.422s 2. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 1m15.471s +0.049s 3. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 1m15.586s +0.164s 4. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 1m15.592s +0.170s 5. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 1m15.620s +0.198s 6. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 1m15.711s +0.289s 7. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 1m15.750s +0.328s 8. Joey Logano Penske Ford 1m15.788s +0.366s 9. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 1m15.933s +0.511s 10. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 1m15.943s +0.521s 11. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m16.010s +0.588s 12. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 1m16.039s +0.617s 13. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 1m16.039s +0.617s 14. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 1m16.200s +0.778s 15. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 1m16.401s +0.979s 16. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 1m16.464s +1.042s 17. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 1m16.465s +1.043s 18. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 1m16.470s +1.048s 19. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 1m16.471s +1.049s 20. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 1m16.483s +1.061s 21. Casey Mears Germain Ford 1m16.555s +1.133s 22. Jacques Villeneuve Phoenix Chevrolet 1m16.576s +1.154s 23. David Ragan Front Row Ford 1m16.592s +1.170s 24. Boris Said FAS Lane Ford 1m16.642s +1.220s 25. Ron Fellows Circle Sport Chevrolet 1m16.650s +1.228s 26. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 1m16.686s +1.264s 27. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 1m16.784s +1.362s 28. David Stremme Swan Toyota 1m16.819s +1.397s 29. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 1m16.829s +1.407s 30. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m16.878s +1.456s 31. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 1m16.922s +1.500s 32. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 1m17.001s +1.579s 33. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 1m17.169s +1.747s 34. Jason Bowles Waltrip Toyota 1m17.224s +1.802s* 35. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 1m17.240s +1.818s 36. Justin Marks Baldwin Chevrolet 1m17.360s +1.938s 37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 1m17.445s +2.023s 38. David Reutimann BK Toyota 1m17.590s +2.168s 39. Alex Kennedy Humphrey Smith Toyota 1m18.271s +2.849s 40. Paulie Harraka Go Green Ford 1m18.367s +2.945s 41. Tomy Drissi NEMCO Toyota 1m19.051s +3.629s 42. JJ Yeley Max Q Ford 1m20.143s +4.721s 43. Victor Gonzalez Jr Baldwin Chevrolet * Qualifying on behalf of Brian Vickers, who was racing in Nationwide